The American Dream? #2

I hope that you do remember from my last blog post that when you want to start a startup or even a project, having in mind your ‘why’ is very important! “Start With Why” as Simon Sinek would say!

I was wondering what would be next. And I have a few answers.

1) Choose and build your team

The team you are going to work with is going to be a key factor in your work, your motivation and your success. Therefore, you need to choose the people you are going to work with.

For ReiInamoto, former AKQA Global Chief Creative Officer, three personalities are necessary to start a business: the Hipster, the Hacker and the Hustler. We had the Golden Circle with Simon Sinek and this is now the Golden Triangle I would say!

Let’s take a real example with the creation of an architecture office.

Elizabeth is the Hipster. She brings the creative ideas, her knowledge of the market and the trends and she makes sure the product is “cool”.
John is the architect: he is the Hacker. A hacker doesn’t necessarily mean that he/she has computer hacking skills but it means that he/she has the technical skills.
Finally, Amy is the manager of the company; she is the Hustler of the team. She is the one running the office, she has the feet on the ground and she is the one who questions the relevance of the decisions they take for their business.

Obviously, the Hipster, Hacker and Hustler theory is most of the time true and might be considered as a magical recipe.

However, I think we should not only think about what personalities and skills we want to have in our team but we should also think about our ability to work together. Having those three personalities won’t be enough if you don’t know how to work, how to discuss, how to take hard decisions together and how to make trade-offs. You can have an architect with an ounce of genius in the office, but it will not work if he does not know how to listen to the rest of the team. Therefore, what could be interesting would also be to learn more about the basic issues you can have in a startup team and how to handle them.

2) Write your business model

Now you have your dream team and the same “why” drives you all. You now need to construct a business model. It is a very useful and simple tool to use in order to build your startup.

It is common to think that the first step is a business plan. But it would be a mistake to start with this heavy and long document. There are so many unknowns when you start a business and a business plan is full of forecasted information: the size of the market, the timing of diffusion, the way people are going to behave, etc…

You should first try to draw a big picture of your idea and sum it up on a one-page document.

1. Key partners
2. Key activities
3. Value proposition
4. Customer relationship
5. Customer segment
6. Key resources
7. Cost structure
8. Revenue stream

Feel free to jump from one category to another while building the business model and to make as many changes as necessary.

I also think that it could be a great help to learn how to present your idea. It highlights the main characteristics of the business; therefore there is less risk you could tangle someone up with too much information.

You should then confront this business model to the reality by talking to real people and maybe future customers. That leads us to the next step…

3) Create personas and get to know them

The next useful tool at the beginning of your startup is the personas.

They are those fictional people you will create and that will represent one type of your customers. By creating an identity with a name and the main characteristics of this type of customers you will be more able to understand them, to talk to them and adapt your product or services to their needs.

Now, let’s see what this new week has in store for us and our future businesses, stay tuned!